The head of law enforcement for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says a recent drop in citations should not be a seen as a sign the agency is any less-committed to enforcing the state’s environmental laws. Rather, Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller says it should be viewed as just one piece of a three-pronged approach aimed at getting the public to “follow the rules” and respect Wisconsin’s natural resources.
An analysis done by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation found a 28 percent drop in citations issued by the DNR between 2011 and 2013, after Governor Scott Walker took office. Schaller says those numbers went down though because the agency has been focusing more on community involvement and education to stress the importance of conservation.
AUDIO: Chief Warden Todd Schaller (:30)
Schaller says “we have discretion and our ultimate goal is compliance, so I think each case is handled based on the circumstances and the situation.” He notes that wardens would be quick to act on the law enforcement end if someone was putting state resources at risk, but adds that working to educate the public about state rules and regulations is sometimes more effective than writing a ticket.